South of the Fraser

Surrey, Delta, White Rock and Langleys

Washing away » an old dump under the Patullo Bridge

Surfacing » the Brownsville dump

Brownsville park at low tide


Just below the Patullo bridge on the banks of the Fraser River is Brownsville park. Three bridges cross over to New Westminster at this point: the old train bridge from the 1900s, the Patullo from the 1930s and the Skytrain bridge from the 1980s. This is also the spot of one of Surrey's earliest settlements, Brownsville. Now it's a post-industrial area with a trailer park, a pub and park that gently slopes down to pleasant beach on the river.

But even a casual walk on the beach will uncover old tires and the remains of unidentifiable metal objects. Walking at low tide reveals that the park is built on top of an old dump.

It turns out Brownsville Bar was the site for an old scrap yard. A quick search of the archives doesn't turn up any information about it being an established dump, although citizens have complained off and on over the years about garbage.


What can be done?

In an email the Parks department says the City of Surrey has done several projects over the last ten years to remove old garbage as it has come to the surface, as well as fortifying the shoreline in an effort to reduce erosion. To complicate matters the currents in the river changed a few years ago making the dump more visible. A challenge for the City, besides adequate funding, is getting authorization from different groups to do remedial work, since it is on the river and affects the fish.

A big unknown is what will happen when the Patullo is replaced. The dump is directly below the current structure. Currents could shift again changing whatever is done in the area.

In the meantime Parks tries to reduce risk to the public.


Garbage exposed in river bank


old garbage on Fraser River


Next to a support for the Patullo


An old spring bed perhaps


Reflection in the tire






Info on South of the Fraser River: Surrey, Delta, White Rock, City of Langley, Township of Langley, Fort Langley. Maybe a bit of Abbotsford, just for fun.

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